I love the Seattle Public Library (SPL). I’m not sure if Seattle just spends more money than Austin, but the library is so much better considering the cities have similar populations that I still use SPL more than Austin. Being a few thousand miles away I mostly make use of SPL’s online databases. Through a little magic I’ve been able to retain my SPL card to keep access to things like Safari Tech Books Online. Recently I came across a couple of new (or at least new to me) online resources that I connect to through SPL.
Tumblebooks.com is a great site for kids of preschool to elementary school age. They take books and give them simple flash animation and narration. Wesley loves these things. The animated books remind me a lot of these movies we had as kids. They were, I think, Little Critters movies. The animation was very simple with movement suggested by backgrounds shaking and the characters slid across the screen rather than actually walking. It is enough to maintain your interest, but doesn’t really distract from the story. And significantly cheaper than actually animating it like a cartoon which I suspect is the real reason behind it.
For some reason, and I’m guessing it is a fluke, you don’t actually need a SPL card to reach this site which is normally about $400 a year. Simply follow this link from the SPL site and enjoy. They have other items, but the books I’m talking about are under the “Story Books” button. If you have small kids or work with small kids give it a try. There are some great stories on there. I’ll write more about one of them later.